Journal article

Single-nanowire solar cells beyond the Shockley-Queisser limit

Light management is of great importance in photovoltaic cells, as it determines the fraction of incident light entering the device. An optimal p-n junction combined with optimal light absorption can lead to a solar cell efficiency above the Shockley-Queisser limit. Here, we show how this is possible by studying photocurrent generation for a single core-shell p-i-n junction GaAs nanowire solar cell grown on a silicon substrate. At 1 sun illumination, a short-circuit current of 180 mA cm(-2) is obtained, which is more than one order of magnitude higher than that predicted from the Lambert-Beer law. The enhanced light absorption is shown to be due to a light-concentrating property of the standing nanowire, as shown by photocurrent maps of the device. The results imply new limits for the maximum efficiency obtainable with III-V based nanowire solar cells under 1 sun illumination.

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